Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum


Winning Project

Wood Design & Building Awards

Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is an international institute for experiential learning dedicated to Alberta’s paleontological heritage through research, collection, preservation, exhibition, public programming, publications and innovative outreach. The museum includes classrooms, a paleo lab, Canada’s only theater partnered with National Geographic, a restaurant and a gift shop.

Wood was introduced as a natural element vital to the paleo heritage metaphor, akin to the skeletal finds of the excavated bone bed. Unique multi-faceted zinc roof plates emulate the shifting tectonics of Earth over millions of years. This creates an exceptionally energy-efficient and sustainable building envelope able to handle the temperature extremes in the region. The entire building is heated and cooled by a displacement ventilation system located under the concrete floor of the museum.

The museum is supported by exposed beetle pine timber beams and struts, with complex asymmetrical wood nodes – the intersecting connection points of these members – that create a very structurally sound building. The nodes are a groundbreaking venture into the engineering of timber connections, with unique structural behavior.

Using heavy timber the supporting members would be fairly straightforward, but, due to the complex geometry and varying angles, difficulties were had with the structural nodes. Engineers explored ways of seamlessly holding the structure together to support the architectural intent. By working iteratively with the architect, a wood node was shaped in a way that respected the desired form and kept the size within element constraints. 

The museum offers stunning interior and exterior views with excellent vantage points and holds an array of spectacular interactive exhibits.


Winning Project Wood Design & Building Awards

  • Special Awards